NREL Joins Industry in Leading Cybersecurity Threat Evaluation for the U.S. Wind Fleet

April 29, 2021 | Contact media relations

Photo of a wind farm in Texas at sunset.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and six leading industry organizations have joined forces in developing a national Wind Cybersecurity Consortium. The goal of the consortium is to improve the cybersecurity of the U.S. wind fleet through collaborative analysis, development, and information sharing.

Industry parties that signed into agreement with NREL include Vestas, General Electric, Siemens Gamesa, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Ørsted, and another major wind system owner and operator—all leading businesses in the wind energy sector that can provide valuable insight into real-world scenarios.

Work directed under the consortium will be funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) and the department’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO). This public-private partnership will allow for the identification of industry-relevant use cases and the development of a platform to improve wind energy threat intelligence with NREL’s world-class modeling and evaluation capabilities.

“This collaboration brings the unique opportunity for Berkshire Hathaway Energy to evaluate today’s most pressing security challenges to the wind energy sector, while learning from the perspectives of our partner organizations,” said Jeffrey Baumgartner, senior advisor at Berkshire Hathaway Energy. “With access to NREL’s research platforms, we can safely explore these perspectives and evaluate a multitude of cyber threats and potential consequences to wind systems across the United States.”

Wind power has accounted for nearly a third of new U.S. energy capacity additions in the past decade, and it continues to be a growing part of our nation’s critical energy infrastructure. Such trends underline the need for diligent focus on the potential risk and consequences associated with cyber intrusion to a wind turbine—and the possibility for cyber-related disruption to energy services at scale.

The launch of this consortium marks a significant milestone for NREL’s cybersecurity program in helping CESER achieve the goals outlined in its Multiyear Plan for Energy Sector Cybersecurity. By convening industry leaders with NREL’s unique expertise and capabilities in systems integration, work developed under the consortium will help to strengthen energy sector cybersecurity preparedness, coordinate cyber incident response and recovery, and accelerate game-changing research, development, and deployment of resilient energy systems.

“Government-industry partnerships like this are critical as we modernize grid systems,” said Pete MacKay, senior director of security architecture at GE Renewable Energy. “The labs help facilitate collaboration between equipment manufacturers and their end users. In this manner, we can harmonize and refine effective security controls for wind systems that are prepared for future threat scenarios.”

Learn more about NREL’s work in cybersecurity research for modern energy systems.

Tags: Energy Security and Resilience,Energy Systems Integration,Wind